I love dandelions! They push forth from the ground with such exuberance! They spread out their leaves, they burrow deep with their roots, they lift their faces to the sun and reflect God’s glory with all they are worth. And if you doubt their determination, then just try to exterminate them! You may succeed for a moment, but they will be back before you know it. For they also spread their seeds bountifully, catching God’s breeze to wherever God sees need for a dandelion.
But we are not dandelions.
I also love oak trees. I grew up in the middle of a 10 acre stand of trees that included several varieties of oaks. There were red oaks, and white oaks. There were oaks for firewood, and oaks for climbing. Oaks in our yard showered us with acorns in the fall, and oaks in woods sheltered squirrels in the winter. Their acorns were driven into the earth by our feet, and buried by squirrels, and split open to send up new shoots in the spring. They provide not just for themselves, but for all the creatures of the woods, and for the next generations as well. Oaks are monuments of faithfulness to God’s creation.
But we are not oak trees.
No, we are something altogether different. We are not always exuberant. And we are not always faithful. But God has created in us something more. God has created us in God’s own image. And we are given the freedom to then create and celebrate in a great diversity ways. We plow the earth, and shape trees into boards and arches, sanctuaries and ships, homes and communities. We gather the animals and collect them and breed them. We hunt them and photograph them. We admire their beauty and celebrate our favorites.
We are given a little of the power of God.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God,and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8 NRSV)
But let us not forget the source of our power. Jesus reminds us “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” That is, unless our work honors God, in the end it amounts to just a pile of stones. Unless our lives show others Christ’s love, in the end, they leave nothing behind. Unless Christ’s love is in us, we ourselves will eventually wither and fade.
So, even as we are uniquely privileged and called, let us learn something from the examples of the dandelion and oak. Let us spread our leaves wide to receive God’s warmth and light. And let us sink our roots deep into God’s word to gain strength and security. And let us never forget, we are special creations, beloved of God, and created to share God. God has anchored us as extensions of God’s own love and creativity.
May God be glorified in all of our creations.